SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — When City Councilor and lifelong Springfield resident Bud Williams found out that his city was the most segregated in the nation, he couldn’t believe this was still the case. “Utter dismay, and completely in a state of shock. When I first moved from the North End to a house, and I wanted to live in East Forest Park, a realtor steered me back over to Boston Rd,”
Williams is calling for area leaders to discuss it with the Subcommittee for Planning and Development.
Using information from the 2010 census, the University of Michigan found that out of the entire U.S., Springfield came in at number one for Latino-White segregation.
In other words, the two groups rarely live in the same neighborhoods. “It’s a matter of perception. Minorities are perceived as not being able to live in a neighborhood that is more affluent, and I believe also that people feel uncomfortable and not feel welcome,” said Ivette Cruz, President and CEO of Springfield’s Puerto Rican Cultural Center.
Cities like Holyoke, included in the Springfield metro area, also exemplify the study’s findings. Both Cruz and Williams feel that opening the conversation will at least start to get things moving in the right direction. “I have a lot of hope that we’ll have this great impact with the casinos that there’s going to be more money coming into the community. Instead of being a city where people will be going out, now it’s going to become a destination,” Cruz shared.
Williams also attributes segregation to the school system and crime, and says that building so many group homes along with low income housing, without leaving room for a mix are also factors.
L.A., New York, Providence, and Boston round out the top 5 for Latino-White segregation.
Milwaukee, WI ranks number 1 for black-white segregation.